Tony’s Thai-tanic tussle with 220kg monster

Tony Matthews in Thailand with a 220kg arapaima
Tony Matthews in Thailand with a 220kg arapaima

A Harworth man ended a 20-year wait for the fish of his dreams, after a titanic 90 minute battle in Thailand.

Tony Matthews landed the colossal 220kg arapaima at Palm Tree Lagoon in Ratchaburi, and immediately set his sights on a stingray.

Tony Matthews with an impressive catch in Thailand

Tony Matthews with an impressive catch in Thailand

The 55-year-old B&Q driver told the Guardian his catch would have broken the world record in more official circumstances.

“I’ve been fishing since I was five years old and the arapaima has been on my wishlist for 20 years – anyone who fishes wants to catch one of these,” he said.

“This one broke the world record, which is 162kg – it was an estimated 220 to 225kg, but I can’t claim it because it’s not an accurate weight.”

Matthews caught seven impressive fish in his four day fishing trip, and although he was delighted with his haul, he admitted it was hard work.

He said: “The bait I used was half a chicken.”

“It took me about one and a half hours for that arapaima.”

“They did offer me help but a fisherman won’t accept that – it’s not about glory or anything, it’s a personal battle between you and the fish.”

Having brought in his desired fish, Matthews posed for some impressive snaps, before releasing the specimens.

“These fish are probably worth £10,000, so you don’t go and eat that with a plate of chips.”

“The lake that I fish over there has 93 different species and a number of them run close to world records or break them.”

“I’m working and saving every penny now for going back.”

With a girlfriend in Thailand, and a love for the country, Matthews has enough reasons for another trip.

But he also wants to add to his list of fishing achievements.

“They call it the land of smiles, it’s a lovely, lovely place,” he said.

“I’m going back later in the year and I’m aiming for a big stingray – the lake has some very big ones, and they’re native to the country.”

“I do some sea fishing, but fresh water is my main thing.”

“I take my girlfriend with me and I fish for four days at the lake.”

“I can’t wait.”